While visiting family in Ann Arbor last week, I stopped in as usual at Danmar Products, a business formerly co-originated and owned by my father who now inhabits its industrial recesses as the resident inventor. He is a catalyst of creativity there and his expansive thoughts and tinkering help keep the place thriving even while the economy languishes. Danmar manufactures all kinds of adaptive and special niche products, many used in therapeutic settings.
My father considers ideas we discuss in casual conversations about recreation needs I sometimes bring up based on my job. He has a current special interest in finding uses for the scrap foam left over from the manufacture of other products at the plant. Up until now the plant had thrown away up to $40,000 worth of scrap foam a year! Now, as my father so wittily says, they are making great use of "second pressings" for a variety of supportive uses.
On this visit he presented me with a series of waterproof bolsters in assorted sizes that use scrap foam for filler. He had a couple sets sewn for me to test in our program that are designed to provide enhanced support and additional cushioning for people in kayaks. Just sitting in a kayak on the floor with these added cushions felt not only far more comfortable for me, but like a great start to the paddling season.
As if that weren't enough, he also put his creative resources to work to come up with an ingenious prototype for creating better kayak flotation using commonly found items so that when boats tip over most of the water is displaced and they can be easily set afloat again. And last, but not least, he also produced a giant hockey puck prototype for use in our power chair on ice program! Thanks Dad! And thanks to Bill Bonds for puck prototype design and fabrication, Tim Mullins for great input on flotation engineering, Debbie Huber for sewing the bags, and Karen Lindner for taking a couple of snapshots. I can hardly wait to get out on the water and back in the rink to test these new designs!